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The Big Question: Richard Hamilton

With a cloud uncertainty thunder-storming, snowing and hailing on the Detroit Pistons, we wanted our Pistons preview series to capture that. So for each Piston, Patrick Hayes and I will identify and explain what we each see as the biggest question surrounding him entering the season.

DF: How much value is there in being the league’s best-conditioned 32-year-old?

Richard Hamilton prides himself on being the NBA’s best-conditioned player, and depending on how you judge that, he might be. Relative to the type of body he’d have if he took average care of himself, Hamilton might be in the best shape in the league.

But how does an extremely fit 32-year-old compare to a regularly fit (by NBA standards) 26-year-old?

Can he be worth $37.5 million over the next three years? Can he be worth an asset in a trade?

I think Hamilton has done all he can to make himself as valuable as possible. But is that enough?

PH: Why again does he need to be traded?

Covering media day reinforced something I’d lost sight of: I really like Rip Hamilton a lot. He’s funny (“Yessir!”), he’s upbeat and although there are certainly questions about his health, he’s still in great shape.

He has a skill set (i.e., not one dependent on elite athleticism) that will make him a solid player well into his late 30s. There are better players than Hamilton out there, and the Pistons have to clear some space on the perimeter, but if he’s healthy, Hamilton will again be a very decent player for the Pistons.


  • Oct 27, 20102:18 am
    by Laser


    rip would look great in a non-pistons uniform because (a) he requires a good point guard and good screens, and we can provide neither, (b) too damn many shooting guards; not enough minutes or shots. it doesn’t take a genius.
    that said, i recognize that he has one of the most unmovable contracts in basketball right now, so i would be perfectly happy to keep him if we moved one or more of the following: (a) ben gordon, or (b) rodney stuckey. it’s debatable whether either is better than him, even if our “system” (can we call it that?) doesn’t play to his strengths. but you could add a legit center to this team, and this glut of shooting guards will still be a significant problem.

  • Oct 27, 20105:49 am
    by Tom Y.


    Stuck is much cheaper and runs the point better, he’s not really in the same equation. Trade him and you’re left with just Bynum at the point (at least until Terrico White heals and hopefully shows he can play in the NBA)

  • Oct 27, 20107:56 am
    by detroitpcb


    I would really like to see the two guard minutes split between Daye and Stuckey.

    so if you ask me, trade both Rip and Ben Gordon

  • Oct 27, 20108:28 am
    by Patrick Hayes



    Even if the system doesn’t play to his strengths offensively, the team is still much better when he’s on the court because he doesn’t turn it over a lot, he’s a willing passer and he defends. If he’s healthy, he, like Prince, would be a great addition to any contender, albeit an expensive one. But based on his preseason shooting numbers, I don’t know how convinced I am that he’s going to have a bounce-back season.

  • Oct 27, 20108:30 am
    by Patrick Hayes



    If they traded either, the net gain would be an equally bad contract. I just don’t see teams giving up expiring contracts or decent big men for either of those guys. It’s important to move one to clear out some minutes on the perimeter, but moving both now probably still makes the team bad and probably doesn’t yied future salary flexibility.

  • Oct 27, 201011:29 am
    by Jason


    While I can understand why fans would suggest trading him (log jam at the position) I think it would overall be a bad move for the team. We’re talking about a team with very little defensive help down low – the last thing we need to do is trade away one of our best defensive players.
    At the same time, the talk about trading RIP should be a testament to how good of a player he is, and that he obviously would attract some other teams.
    The fact remains that Gordon has always been impressive off the bench, and Rip is hands down our most consistent option to start at the position. And to be quite honest, I have no problem moving RIP to the 3 position against certain squads.
    How about we OFFER DAMPIER A FULL MLE, ship Summers or Wilcox somewhere, and voila. We have at least a formidable all around team.
    We lack a big body down low who will grab rebounds, and clog the lane. There is no better player out there to do just that. We will not need Dampier to play offense, we have plenty of offensive threats on the team..
    Anyone else frustrated that there have been NO RUMORS about the Pistons making a strong push for him?

  • Oct 27, 201011:35 am
    by Patrick Hayes



    I don’t know if the team is in a position to pursue him. Dumars stated at the beginning of the offseason he intended to use the MLE. Then the only contract he handed out was a vet’s minimum deal to McGrady. Dumars denies it, but I really feel like he was told not to add significantly to the payroll with the team for sale.

    As for Dampier, couple of things: he’s not worth the full MLE at this point. Maybe slightly more than the vet’s minimum. I don’t think overpaying for an aging center will do anything other than further hurt the team’s already bad financial situation and it would take them from not likely to make the playoffs to slightly more likely to contend for the eighth seed. In other words, would the investment really accomplish anything?

    And even if the Pistons were interested, Dampier can essentially choose to join virtually any contending team right now. Every team could use a big body who rebounds and blocks shots. It’s rare that limited big men sign with bad teams because there are always jobs for them on good teams.

  • Oct 27, 201011:50 am
    by Jason


    Agreed that Damiper is clearly not the end all be all for this team. But at the same time he gives us a much better shot then what we have now.
    Also, he has turned down the contenders. Miami, and Boston both contacted him about the Vet’s Min, and he said no thanks.. He simply wants more money.
    Now, is there more to the financial restraints then Dumars claims? Undoubtedly. But lets be honest, we’ve handed out some fairly large contracts in the last few years – a tiny little MLE is not going to break the bank, nor would it jeopardize the sale of the team. If we were talking about a multi-year large contract – then maybe, but that’s not the case here.
    Lastly, I think you make some valid points in that Dampier may not make this team an allstar squad, or improve their chances THAT much.. But what if it did??
    I remember people saying the same thing in 2004, when Rasheed was brought in.. Some said it would ruin what little chemistry we had, that it would hurt the younger Pistons players, that Rasheed was old and washed up, etc etc etc. Im sure you remember…
    Now, im not going to pretend to compare the situations, or the players for that matter. They play much different styles of course. BUT, you cannot deny that the MAIN flaw on this Pistons roster is size down low. Plain and simple. Dampier offers just that, he is 7′ 265ish – that’s a force down low, and would be great to have in the East.
    Lastly, just because one might think that the Pistons aren’t going too far this year, does that mean we should just give up? Does that mean that Dumars/staff should not look to improve the team, even if just a little bit, because we “May not do that much better then an 8 seed?”
    I disagree with that entirely. I believe the East is wide open, and aside from a few quality teams, there is alot of wiggle room left there in terms of playoff spots.
    If any fan base out there should know how quickly a team can turn around, it should be these Pistons fans.. Plain and simple, that one big body could be the difference in making a push for the playoffs, and whether we are swept or not – that’s a whole lot of experience that these young Pistons can gain. Something that should never be taken for granted.

  • Oct 27, 20106:01 pm
    by Laser


    one underrated benefit to moving either rip or bg is the instant boost in value to the other one. as long as they’re both here, they’re going to step on each other’s toes to some extent. they’re sharing each other’s shots and minutes. so even if you traded one for an “equally bad” contract, you’re instantly boosting the value of the other. both want to play 35 minutes and be a #1 offensive option. both are best used in that kind of role. and you also free up some minutes to play stuckey off the ball, where he’s more comfortable. but it can’t happen as long as they’re on the same team. heck, as long as that’s the case you’re forcing them to play out of position as well, since they won’t settle for 24 minutes apiece. hard to imagine a contract bad enough to make unloading rip a bad move.

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